how to work with your love
(and stay in love)
Our top tips for making it work.
Our love is a teenager now, and I can say it certainly gets funner and moodier (not really!) the older it grows.
Nathan and I genuinely love working together and dreaming together. We’ve been working together on Blacklist for the past 11 years now, and together for 13.
For some couples working together is either not an option, or a choice they are wanting to make, which I think is awesome when people know that about themselves.
But for those of us who have made that choice, we wanted to share some (hopefully) helpful thoughts on what works, in making it WORK.
01. LOVE TRUMPS ALL
This is the foundation that everything else in our lives is built on. That nothing else matters above LOVE
02. KNOW YOUR ROLES & RESPECT THEM
Nathan and I know our roles, they are based on our strengths and we don’t deviate from them. We have areas that cross over and we work well together as a team (more on this later). In our relationship we have endeavoured to make life (& love) simple for the other, to not complicate things and to choose the other over self. By knowing, celebrating and encouraging the other person’s role and contribution we ensure that we love our roles, and the parts we play amongst our team.
03. VALUE WHAT THE OTHER BRINGS
Let them know all the time how grateful you are for the part they play, how well they do it. No-one ever gets tired of being complimented.
04. HAVE FUN
Go to lunch together, go see bands, take at least an hour a week in ‘work’ time to have fun together.
05. DREAM BIG
Dream and scheme together. Vision brings life, and love always needs fresh doses of life and dreams.
06. DECIDE WHAT YOU BOTH WANT FROM THE BUSINESS
Do you want it to make loads of money, but create lots of tension and time away from each other and your family?
Do you want to have a great lifestyle and good cashflow?
Do you want your spouse to be able to pursue hobbies and passions, or pennies and paperwork?
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe we can have it all, just not all at the same time.
The things you want often change over time, and this is where good communication is always key.
We have a family rule that says “We say what we mean and we mean what we say”. This manages expectations and facilitates clear communication.
Clear communication and realistic expectations are so important. We try to lead conversation with questions, rather than statements.
07. IT’S OK FOR WORK & FAMILY & LIFE TO BE UNBALANCED
This works for our family. We don’t see life/work/family as competitors, but complimenters to the other. We realised pretty early in that we talked a lot about work when we were at home. This used to bother me, as I thought maybe we had nothing else in common apart from work. And then I realised that if we both went off to seperate workplaces, what would happen when we came home? We would talk about work. We don’t see this as a down-side, but a positive as we both have careers we are passionate about. It also opens conversations up with our children about work, creating, their opinions, thoughts and ideas, that heavily influence our decision making and creating. It’s all one big glorious mess haha.
08. DO INTENTIONAL ACTS OF KINDNESS
We like to leave letters on desks, send each other emails and texts across the desk. We intentionally have special visual reminders of the other in our studio so when we might feel slightly overwhelmed or irritated, we see the visual reminders such as words about love, the book Nathan designed to propose to me with, photos of our children, shells from holidays, all the little things, the relics, of the life we have built together, not just the business.